Sensory marketing describes any marketing campaign designed to appeal to the five human senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are enabling marketers to design fun, interactive, and immersive sensory marketing brand experiences. Long term, businesses must develop sensory marketing campaigns that are relevant and effective in eCommerce.
|Definition||Sensory Marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on engaging consumers’ senses to enhance their perception and experience of a brand or product. It recognizes that human senses, including sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell, play a vital role in consumer decision-making and emotional connection. Sensory marketing aims to create a multisensory brand experience that leaves a lasting impression on consumers.|
|Key Concepts||Multisensory Experience: Sensory marketing aims to engage multiple senses simultaneously, creating a holistic brand experience. Emotional Connection: It leverages sensory stimuli to evoke emotions and strengthen the emotional bond between consumers and the brand. Perception Enhancement: By optimizing sensory elements, it enhances how consumers perceive a product or service. Brand Recall: Sensory cues can trigger brand recall and recognition. Influence on Behavior: Sensory experiences can influence consumer behavior, including purchase decisions. Cross-Modal Effects: Interactions between different senses can create unique effects and associations.|
|Sensory Elements||Sensory marketing utilizes various elements: 1. Visual: Color, packaging, and visual aesthetics influence perception. 2. Auditory: Music, soundscapes, and audio branding affect mood and emotion. 3. Tactile: Texture, product feel, and haptic feedback create physical engagement. 4. Olfactory: Scents, such as fragrances in retail stores, impact mood and memory. 5. Gustatory: Taste, relevant in the food and beverage industry, influences product preference.|
|Applications||Sensory marketing finds applications in various industries: 1. Retail: Creating pleasing store environments through lighting, music, and scents. 2. Food and Beverage: Leveraging taste and smell to enhance product appeal. 3. Automotive: Focusing on interior design, comfort, and engine sounds. 4. Cosmetics: Using textures, fragrances, and packaging to create sensory appeal. 5. Hospitality: Designing hotels for sensory comfort.|
|Advantages||Sensory marketing offers several advantages: 1. Differentiation: It sets brands apart by creating unique sensory experiences. 2. Emotional Connection: Engaging senses can evoke positive emotions and attachment to the brand. 3. Memory and Recall: Sensory cues enhance brand recall and recognition. 4. Purchase Intent: Positive sensory experiences can influence consumer purchase decisions. 5. Brand Loyalty: It fosters brand loyalty through memorable experiences.|
|Challenges||Challenges in sensory marketing include: 1. Consistency: Maintaining consistent sensory elements across various touchpoints. 2. Cross-Cultural Differences: Sensory preferences can vary across cultures. 3. Overstimulation: Excessive sensory stimuli can overwhelm consumers. 4. Ethical Considerations: Ensuring that sensory tactics align with ethical standards.|
|Examples||Notable examples include Apple’s product packaging and design, which engages visual and tactile senses, and Starbucks’ coffee aroma, which creates a distinct olfactory experience. Coca-Cola’s sound branding is another example, utilizing auditory elements.|
|Measurement||Sensory marketing success can be measured through consumer surveys, sales data, brand recognition, and customer feedback related to sensory experiences. Advances in neuromarketing also offer insights into consumers’ neural responses to sensory stimuli.|
|Conclusion||Sensory Marketing leverages human senses to enhance consumer perception, evoke emotions, and create memorable brand experiences. By strategically incorporating sensory elements such as visual aesthetics, soundscapes, and fragrances, brands can differentiate themselves, foster emotional connections with consumers, and influence purchase decisions. However, it requires consistency, cultural sensitivity, and ethical considerations to be effective. In an increasingly competitive market, sensory marketing can provide a powerful tool for brands seeking to leave a lasting impression on consumers.|
Understanding sensory marketing
There has been a lot of research over the past few decades into how the five senses can affect consumer purchase decisions.
The sum total of this research has resulted in a new field called sensory marketing, which seeks to relate to consumers on an emotional level via the five senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound.
Sensory marketing was once confined to brick-and-mortar businesses that endeavored to engage shoppers and keep them in the store for as long as possible.
With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating the shift toward eCommerce, some question whether sensory marketing is still as relevant as it once was.
The good news is that sensory marketing is still a valuable tool in the arsenal of any modern business.
Visual campaigns will always be popular online, but evolving technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are also enabling marketers to design fun, interactive, and immersive brand experiences that engage other senses.
Sensory marketing examples
All five senses play an important role in creating an emotional association with a brand.
Let’s take a look at how sensory marketing is playing out in the real world.
Taste encompasses the five sensations of sour, sweet, umami, bitter, and salty.
When an individual tastes a product, they use the other four senses in unison to determine whether they enjoy something.
For the business, it is important to move beyond the basic and widespread technique of product sampling toward creating a memorable experience.
New Orleans beer brand Second Line gave consumers the chance to sample a new IPA by taking selfies with branded props and be directed to the nearest store that stocked the beer.
While consumers came to taste the beer, they also got to experience the hospitality that the southern part of America is famous for.
How can the consumer fall in love with a product or service with a hands-on experience?
Duct tape brand Duck Tape launched the Duck Tape Rolls Across America Tour to create brand awareness, engage consumers, and increase sales at retail locations.
A large and very bright green bus toured the country with a range of interactive activities for duct tape enthusiasts, including product tutorials, fun craft projects, and life-size sculptures.
Most consumers appreciate the smell of baked bread in a supermarket or a signature scent in the cosmetics section of a department store.
These smell-based experiences are no accident, with companies using them to connect consumers with some of their earliest and fondest memories.
American bakery chain Cinnabon deliberately locates its ovens near the front of each store to ensure the aroma of fresh-baked goods permeates the surrounding area.
The tactic has proven so successful that some stores maintain the scent throughout the day by warming sheets of cinnamon and brown sugar.
The role of sight in consumer purchasing does not need much explanation.
Consumers recognize brands, logos, images, text, and even color schemes in a mostly subconscious process.
Traditional strategies favor simple product displays, which work to some extent.
However, modern businesses should also consider art, videos, advertising banners, magazines, whitepapers, and online catalogs.
To create that much-desired emotional experience, visual stimuli can also be paired with auditory stimuli.
The Reunion Tower affords consumers commanding views of the city of Dallas from a height of 561 feet.
While this experience is a feast for the eyes, visitors can also download a virtual reality app that enhances the traditional experience of looking out from a tall structure.
Sound is also a widely used technique in marketing, though the efficacy of radio jingles and television advertisements is debatable.
Nevertheless, studies have shown that music is an important emotion regulator and that 75% of consumers will remain in a store if they enjoy the music that is being played.
To that end, Victoria Secret broadcasts classical music in its stores to create an atmosphere suggestive of a luxury shopping experience.
- Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Shops: Ben & Jerry’s allows customers to sample various ice cream flavors before making a purchase. This hands-on experience engages the sense of taste.
- Starbucks’ Seasonal Offerings: Starbucks introduces seasonal beverages like Pumpkin Spice Latte, appealing to the sense of taste and creating anticipation for these limited-time treats.
- Lush’s In-Store Experience: Lush, a cosmetics brand, invites customers to touch, feel, and try their products in-store, enhancing the tactile experience.
- Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign: Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign encourages women to embrace their natural beauty. The use of real women and unretouched images appeals to the sense of touch by promoting self-acceptance.
- Abercrombie & Fitch Stores: Abercrombie & Fitch stores are known for their signature scent, which is sprayed throughout the store. The distinctive fragrance creates a sensory connection with the brand.
- Café de Starbucks: Starbucks stores often have the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, enticing passersby and drawing them into the store.
- Apple’s Product Displays: Apple’s minimalist and aesthetically pleasing product displays in their stores appeal to the sense of sight. The sleek design and visual presentation create a sense of sophistication.
- Coca-Cola’s Iconic Red Color: The use of the iconic red color in Coca-Cola’s branding and packaging instantly captures attention and recognition, appealing to the sense of sight.
- McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” Jingle: McDonald’s catchy jingle is a classic example of sound-based marketing. It’s memorable and reinforces the brand’s message.
- ASMR Videos by Brands: Brands like IKEA and KFC have created ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) videos that use soothing sounds to engage viewers’ auditory senses.
- Luxury Car Test Drives: Luxury car dealerships often combine the senses of sight, touch, and even sound by offering customers test drives in well-designed vehicles with premium interiors.
- Wine Tasting Events: Wineries create sensory experiences by combining taste, smell, and sight during wine tasting events, where customers can sample different wines in picturesque settings.
- Sensory marketing describes any marketing campaign designed to appeal to the five human senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound.
- Sensory marketing encompasses a range of creative strategies across the five human senses. For best results, sensory marketing should incorporate at least two different senses in a single campaign.
Key Highlights of Sensory Marketing:
- Definition: Sensory marketing focuses on appealing to the five human senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. It aims to create emotional connections with consumers by engaging multiple senses.
- Evolution in eCommerce: While sensory marketing was initially associated with brick-and-mortar businesses, it remains relevant in eCommerce. Technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things enable businesses to design interactive and immersive sensory experiences online.
- Research on Consumer Behavior: Sensory marketing is based on extensive research on how the five senses influence consumer purchasing decisions. It aims to create emotional associations with brands through sensory experiences.
- Examples of Sensory Marketing:
- Taste: Brands like Second Line engage consumers by offering product samples within a broader experience, such as themed events.
- Touch: Companies like Duck Tape use hands-on experiences, like interactive tours, to connect consumers with their products.
- Smell: Businesses, like Cinnabon, intentionally use scents to evoke memories and create an inviting atmosphere.
- Sight: Visual elements, such as branding, color schemes, and immersive visuals, are crucial in creating emotional connections.
- Sound: Music and auditory elements can significantly impact the shopping experience, encouraging consumers to stay longer.
- Combining Senses: Effective sensory marketing often incorporates multiple senses within a single campaign to create a more profound emotional impact.
Visual Marketing Glossary